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We should first take a look at the features of this new chipset from Intel before we get into the specific features of this motherboard. This chipset is replacing the venerable X58 chipset that was extremely popular with the enthusiast community.
One of the main features of this new chipset is that it features support for Intel’s latest 2011 socket processors. These new processors are geared toward the enthusiast market and they are replacing Intel’s last enthusiast level processors, the 1366. These new processors deliver nearly server level performance and thus far have absolutely no rivals. For a complete review of these new processors please have a look at the launch review that was written by our editor and chief, Elric Phares.
This new chipset has some very interesting features and comes with a very unusual design. One of the first things that you’ll notice when you take one of these out of the box is that there are ram slots on both sides of the CPU socket. This is to enable support for Intel’s new memory architecture that uses four channels of memory. This is meant to boost performance by giving the processor better memory access. It also features support for memory speeds in excess of 2400MHz with overclocking and support for up to 64 gigs of installed memory. For the extreme enthusiast this is going to be really useful and for those that are into advanced media encoding this platform is going to be perfect.
A feature that Intel has added to this new chipset is their Platform Controller Hub technology. This isn’t really new for Intel, but is different than their competitor’s traditional design. What this technology does is it combines the traditional North Bridge and South Bridge into a single controller. This has the potential to reduce latency, boost performance, and reduce power requirements and overall temperatures. Intel’s previous enthusiast level chipset was notoriously hot and throughout our testing this controller never produced temperatures that made the heat sink hot to the touch. This new controller hub also features up to 40 PCI express 2.0 lanes and 8 lanes for PCI express 3.0. This new interface still needs to be paired with a processor and video card that supports it before it can be fully utilized.